This long-established surname, derives from the Old French male given name "Herbert", itself coming from the Old German "Hariberct, Herebert", a compound of the elements "hari, heri", army, and "berht", bright, illustrious. Introduced into England by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066, Herbert diffused the corresponding Anglo-Saxon "Herebeorht", and appears as "Herbertus" and "Hereberd" in the Domesday Book of 1086. In 1148, one Herebertus capellanus was noted in Feudal Documents from the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk. The surname first appears on record at the beginning of the 13th Century, and further early examples include: Richard Her(e)bert or Herberd (Worcestershire, 1221); Henry Herberd (Bedfordshire, 1273); and Christopher Harbert, entered in the 1550 Register of the Freemen of the City of York. Surnames derived from given names are the oldest and most pervasive surname type, and in vernacular naming traditions (as distinct from religious), names were originally composed of vocabulary elements of the local language, and no doubt bestowed for their auspicious connotations. In the modern idiom the surname has several spelling variations ranging from Herbert, Harbard and Harbird, to Harbord, Harbot(t) and Fitzherbert. On November 23rd 1578, John Harbard and Margery Ellis were married at St. Benet Fink, London, and on July 6th 1589, Anne, daughter of George Harbard, was christened at St. Bride's, Fleet Street. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Herebert, which was dated 1206, in the "Pipe Rolls of Dorset", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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